Sept. 22-27 Whistling Straits Kohler, Wisconsin
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Credit: Ryder Cup baby

Ryder Cup baby names

You may have seen the story on the family that named their child Ryder. As it turns out, they weren't alone. Multiple people turned up in the comments of our Facebook page to let us know that they too had ditched baby name books and taken inspiration from the biennial battle.

In fact, the name Ryder has been rapidly increasing in popularity nationwide, based on U.S. Social Security baby names data.

Data is only available on names that crack each year’s top 1,000 in the United States, a feat Ryder didn’t accomplish for male babies until 1994 (it has never cracked the top 1,000 for female babies).

That year, it was the 951st most popular name. But that popularity has only grown. In 2014, Ryder peaked as the 95th most popular name, when 4,100 boys were named Ryder (accounting for 0.201 percent of male births that year).

But a funny thing happens when you look at the timeline. We’re no baby scientists, so a bit of this may be a stretch, but bear with us:

In 1993, the U.S. won its second Ryder Cup in a row after a European three-peat. It was the first time the U.S. team had won in Europe since 1981. In 1994, Ryder broke the top 1,000 names for the first time ever.

In 1999, we saw the Battle of Brookline, where the U.S. team came back from a 10-6 deficit to win 14½ to 13½. According to the New York Times, 6.3 million U.S. households watched. In 2000, the name Ryder saw a 150 percent jump in popularity (as opposed to a 1.25 percent jump from 1998 to 1999).

In 2012, Europe returned the favor. Down 10-6 heading into the final day, the Europeans came back to win 14½ to 13½ after Tiger Woods missed a putt on the final green. Obviously disgusted by the U.S.’ collapse, American parents steered clear of the name Ryder, and its popularity dropped 0.33 percent in 2013, the first time it had decreased since 2001.

While the name has become more popular than ever, only 3,238 Ryders were born in 2017. For reference, the most popular name for a male baby in the U.S. last year, Liam, saw 18,728 births.

So pay extra attention to this year's tournament at Le Golf National. Thousands of children's futures could hang in the balance.

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